The Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) was adopted in 1978 in response to the unmet needs of a growing number of runaway and homeless youth. In New York State, the Office of Children and Family Services is responsible for administering RHYA. This is implemented through the state's network of County Youth Bureaus and public and private youth service agencies.
In New York State a runaway youth is defined as a person under the age of 18 years who is absent from his/her legal residence without the consent of his/her parent, legal guardian or custodian. A homeless youth is defined as a person under the age of 21 who is in need of services and is without a place of shelter where supervision and care are available.
For information about local resources that can help runaway and homeless youth please download the form below.
Collecting data about children and youth experiencing homelessness is an ongoing goal of ours. Please help us by completing the form below each time you are working with a young person in need.
Educational Rights of Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness
During the 1980s, the federal government recognized the magnitude of the problem of homelessness within our country and, more specifically, the increasing incidences of homelessness among families with children and unaccompanied youth. As a result, Congress passed the Stewart B. McKinney Act, reauthorized most recently as the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. This act guarantees homeless children and youth the following:
- The right to immediate enrollment in school, even if lacking paperwork normally required for enrollment.
- The right to attend school in his/her school of origin, if requested any feasible, OR in the school in the attendance area where the family or youth is currently residing.
- The right to receive transportation to his/her school of origin.
- The right to services comparable to those received by housed schoolmates, including transportation and supplemental educational services.
- The right to attend school along with children not experiencing homelessness.
- The posting of all homeless students’ rights in all schools and other places around the community.
In addition, every school district must designate an appropriate staff person as a Homeless Liaison within their respective district to assist and identify homeless students.
For a listing of our local Broome County School District Homeless Liaisons, please download the file below.